The National Minimum Wage (NMW) will rise to £5.80 per hour from October, for workers aged 22 and over, the government has announced this week. It is a 7p increase per hour on the current rate of £5.73 – a rise of 1.2%.
For 18- to 22-year-olds the rate will increase by 6p to £4.83, and by 4p to £3.57 for 16- and 17-year-olds.
Gill Brooks-Lonican, chief executive of the National Association of Master Bakers, said the increase “won’t do craft bakeries any good at all”, and favours a freeze on wage increases during the recession. “So many bakeries are really feeling the results of the recession; it’s absolutely crazy,” she added.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has also said an NMW freeze would have been more helpful for businesses. “We pressed for a freeze to the minimum wage because of the severity of the downturn and the daily loss of jobs,” said director general of BCC, David Frost.
“We are pleased that the increase is only a modest one, and it shows that the Low Pay Commission and the government have largely understood the seriousness of the situation.”
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) however, has welcomed the hourly rate change. John Cridland, CBI deputy director-general, said: “This moderate increase recognises that many businesses are struggling, and helps protect jobs at a time of rising unemployment.”
From October 2010, the top NMW rate will be extended to include 21-year-olds.